Do you judge a book by its cover?



When I was flying back to Melbourne a few weeks ago from Sydney, I sat next to a bookseller. We chatted about all sorts of books and found our opinions rarely differed on books we’d read. I was interested to know how she chose books to read. In a lowered voice she admitted to often choosing a book because of its cover. Gasp!!

It made me think about my own choices. I  tend to choose books because of reviews or word of mouth recommendations or the back cover blurb. However, I admit that I do like the look of a cover and while I sit here contemplating my book shelf my eye unashamedly drifts to the spine with the brightest cover which happens to be the Museum of Modern Love. I didn’t buy it because I loved the cover, I chose it because it had won the Stella Prize in 2017. Yet it’s cover is hypnotically enticing. The geometric shapes and dominant red colour draws the eye. I probably would have bought it without the award because it stood out.

Let’s face it. A good cover is a sales tool, like the dress in the window of a shop. If it looks good, you’re enticed to check it out. So all the hype and advice around getting yourself a good cover is correct.

When looking at my own publications I confess to agonising over the cover but as a writer careful with her newborn, I can’t always see if the cover is actually any good. Feedback is always positive because no-one wants to tell you that your baby is ugly, do they?

For A Perfect Stone, I have had a lot of positive feedback about the cover and quite unsolicited so perhaps I am on the right track. I am proud of the cover by Jonny Lynch (https://jonnylynchgraphics.wixsite.com/media) who I think did a great job for his first ever book cover venture. He was extremely patient, understanding and listened to my vision which is particularly important for a cover designer. Hopefully it will be the first of many for him. And if you like it, visit his webpage.

So it’s confession time, do covers make a difference to you?

Behind the Pen with S.C. Karakaltsas

I was lucky enough to be Theresa Smith’s guest where I talk about insights into my writing process and of course my new release, A Perfect Stone.

Theresa Smith Writes

Welcome to Behind the Pen. Today my guest is S.C. Karakaltsas, here to share some insight into her writing process along with the details of her forthcoming novel, A Perfect Stone. Over to you Sylvia!


When did you start writing and what was the catalyst?

author pic745116330..jpgI spent many years in the corporate world before I accidentally discovered writing in 2014. I say it was an accident because I’d never set out with an intention to write. It hadn’t been a childhood dream or a lifelong goal. After my father passed away, I found a bunch of letters he’d written as a young man to my grandmother when he went to work on a phosphate island in the middle of the Pacific in 1948.

I began typing the letters to preserve them for the family. But as I typed, a story began to unfold as he mentioned snippets about labour unrest…

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Something to Say: S.C. Karakaltsas

A Perfect Stone is out today. Check out the interview where I talk about my new release.

Clare Rhoden

Today I’m pleased to host S.C. Karakaltsas on Something to Say, an occasional blog series in which I chat with creatives who have a timely event or launch to talk about.

S.C. Karakaltsas is the author of two historical fiction novels, Climbing theCoconut Tree, and A Perfect Stone. Sylvia has also written a contemporary short story collection, Out of Nowhere. She has received awards for two of her short stories and has work published in the Lane Cove Literary Awards Anthology and Monash Writers Anthology. In her spare time, Sylvia also blogs and reviews many amazing books at https://sckarakaltsas.com/

Welcome to STS Sylvia. What project are you talking about today?

Thanks for having me. My current project is my new novel called A Perfect Stone.

author pic

A Perfect Stone is set for release today, I see. Congratulations! Is there one aspect of the novel that you relate to most…

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COVER REVEAL: NEW RELEASE

Announcing New Release: A Perfect Stone by S.C. Karakaltsas

I am so excited to let you know that my novel, A Perfect Stone will be ready for release October 10, 2018. The cover is done, the proof has been examined from front to back and the format double-checked. There is nothing like holding your new book in your hands for the first time.

It might seem as though I’ve churned out another novel in a short time but believe me, this has been a project of more than two years in the making and at times a laborious undertaking. But it’s also been a labour of love and passion as I researched the heartbreaking tale of what happened to children who were forcibly removed from their homes during the Greek Civil War in 1948.

A dual timeline story taking the reader on a journey through the snow-covered mountains of Northern Greece, to Czechoslovakia, Macedonia and Australia, I hope you’ll like reading it as much as I loved writing it.

How do you find a place to belong when there’s nowhere else to go?

Living alone, eighty-year-old Jim Philips potters in his garden feeding his magpies. He doesn’t think much of his nosy neighbours or telemarketers. All he wants to do is live in peace.

Cleaning out a box belonging to his late wife, he finds something which triggers the memories of a childhood he’s hidden, not just from his overprotective middle-aged daughter, Helen, but from himself. When Jim has a stroke and begins speaking another language, Helen is shocked to find out her father is not who she thinks he is.

Jim’s suppressed memories surface in the most unimaginable way when he finally confronts what happened when, as a ten-year-old, he was forced at gunpoint to leave his family and trek barefoot through the mountains to escape the Greek Civil War in 1948.

A Perfect Stone is a sweeping tale of survival, loss and love.

Now available https://www.amazon.com.au/Perfect-Stone-S-C-Karakaltsas/dp/0994503261/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1538698782&sr=1-1

Short Story Competitions

I enter my short stories from time to time into competitions. It’s highly competitive and I’d imagine a very tough task to judge. So when I recently received a Highly Commended Award for my short story, Stanley Place Boys, from Monash Wordfest 2018, I was surprised and delighted.

I’ve included the link if you’d like to read it. While you’re there, feel free to check out the winners, particularly the children’s categories where you’ll find some amazing entries.

The world is rich with story.

https://www.monlib.vic.gov.au/Events/WordFest-2018/2018-Short-Story-Writing-Competition-Results/2018-Cat-C-Commended-3

It’s World Refugee Day

I can’t imagine being displaced from the safety and security of my home. I can’t even fathom what it’s like  to survive without food, friends, family and shelter. I can’t visualise being surrounded by so much hate, gunfire, shelling and death. I can’t contemplate a fear so chilling that I’m forced to take an incredible risk to get out of a dangerous situation.

Yet one person on the planet every two seconds flees on foot, by vehicle or boat to escape and seek sanctuary elsewhere. I wonder why anyone would risk a buffeting sea until I actually consider the environment of where they’ve come from.

June 20 is World Refugee Day. There were 51.2 million refugees reported in 2013 which exceeded the numbers after WW2. This has grown to an extraordinary and record number of 68 million refugees in 2017. While  conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, Myanmar and Congo areas continue,  the numbers of displaced people will grow.

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) recent report, one in every 110 people on our planet is a refugee, internally displaced or is seeking asylum. It’s a staggering figure but what is even more tragic is that 25 million are under the age of 18.

Most of us in the Western world are very fortunate and we all have a responsibility to do something whether it’s to support organisations who help refugees such as the UNHCR (http://www.unhcr.org/uk/), agitate our own government and elected officials or simply take the time to reflect and change our attitude and mindset about our fellow human beings.

Many of us would no doubt have relatives or ancestors who were refugees. Indeed, within my own family there are refugees from WW2 and the Greek Civil War.

Refugees don’t choose to run because they want to, they’re put into a position where they simply have to.